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Pritchard, Hugh W.

Hugh Pritchard
Job title: 

Senior Research Leader, Comparative Seed Biology

Comparative Plant and Fungal Biology
Joined Kew: 


Qualifications and appointments: 
  • BSc (Hons), Univ. Leicester, 1978
  • PhD, CNAA, 1983
  • Honorary Professor – Chinese Academy of Sciences, and Univ. Sussex
  • Fellow – Society of Biology (FSB) and Linnean Society (FLS)
  • Member – Academy of Sciences of South Africa
  • Trustee – Society for Low Temperature Biology
  • Assistant Editor - CryoLetters


I manage and lead research on comparative seed biology, with specialist interests in stress biology (desiccation, low temperature, oxidative), threshold models and global change, and seed storage stability.

I am Kew Principal Investigator of Co-Investigators on four competitive research grants: two FP7 European Union projects on seed quality (2012-18), a Darwin Initiative project on cycad biology (2014-17) and a RCUK-CONFAP (Research Councils UK-Brazilian Council of State Funding Agencies) project on the comparative seed biology of Amazonia species (2015).

I also provide international coordination of Kew’s collaborative science with the Chinese Academy of Sciences, China and the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, India.

Selected publications: 

Beardmore, T., Loo, J., Mathews, S., McGovern, K., Nikiema, A., Souvannavong, O., Taylor, M., Thomson, J., Bouda, H-N., Cavers, S., Duminil, J., Ekue, M., Fady, B., Pritchard, H., Thomas, E. & van Zonneveld, M. (2014). The State of the World’s Forest Genetic Resources. FAO, Rome, 304 pp.

Colville, L., Bradley, E. L., Lloyd, A. S., Pritchard, H. W., Castle, L. & Kranner, I. (2012). Volatile fingerprints of seeds of four species indicate the involvement of alcoholic fermentation, lipid peroxidation, and Maillard reactions in seed deterioration during ageing and desiccation stress. J Exp Bot 63, 6519-6530.

Nadarajan, J. & Pritchard, H. W. (2014). Biophysical characteristics of successful oilseed embryo cryoprotection and cryopreservation using vacuum infiltration vitrification, an innovation in plant cell preservation. PLoS ONE  doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0096169.

Orrù, M., Mattana, E., Pritchard, H. W. & Bacchetta, G. (2012). Thermal thresholds as predictors of seed dormancy release and germination timing: altitude-related risks from climate warming for the wild grapevine Vitis vinifera subsp. sylvestris. Ann Bot 110, 1651-1660.

Wang, Y., Li, Y., Xue, H., Pritchard, H. W. & Wang, X.F. (2015, in press). Reactive oxygen species (ROS)-provoked mitochondria-dependent cell death during ageing of elm (Ulmus pumila L.) seeds. The Plant Journal.

Current projects